As hundreds descend on Bay City, MI for the memorial service/celebration of West Systems co-founder and all-around sailing superstar Meade Gougeon, we offer a few words from one of the many boats he built. With thanks to folks who don’t need a plug. Come say hello to the Clean Clan if you show up at the Gougeon boathouse…
Today I’m floating low on my lines as I mourn the loss of my designer, builder and skipper Meade Gougeon.
I am so proud that you put me together without fasteners, the first boat ever built with the West System Epoxy you developed. Over the last 47 years we’ve sailed thousands of miles together. Most were spectacular and full of adventure. Others weren’t so comfortable for me; I gave you my all and sometimes more, resulting in me breaking. As painful as those times were for me I knew you would heal me with that special glue!!
Your nature as a tinkerer made me look forward to the winters like no boat ever. I will never forget the hours you spent changing my configurations, attempting to squeeze out of me an extra tenth or two of boat speed. I’d anticipate each spring, eager to stretch my amas and see how we did.
The other boats would look at me and not understand exactly what I was, sometimes even making fun of me. Until they raced against us. Then they knew. Back at the dock, while you took questions from their skippers, I was full of pride as the other boats would bow their booms in respect of the whooping we just gave them. Sometimes it would take multiple races for them to realize how revolutionary my design was, but eventually they all did.
My heart of wood and epoxy is strong and I will sail on with the next generation. You can rest in peace knowing that I will take care of them as you’ve taken care of me. Godspeed my friend, I will remember you through the wind and waves